Two-Time Winner Slocum Tied For Lead


Brian Bateman played his final eight holes in 6-under to tie Heath Slocum for the lead after the first round of the $525,000 Buy.Com Omaha Classic in Omaha, Neb.
Bateman and Slocum each shot 8-under-par 64s at The Champions Club. They lead Patrick Sheehan by one shot.
This is the highest purse of the year thus far, $94,500 will go to the winner.
Slocum is vying for more than money. A two-time winner in 2001, Slocum is one win away from becoming the second man (Chris Smith, 1997) to win three times in one year and earn the battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour.
'I feel good. I really got comfortable with my putter again starting a little bit yesterday,' said the 27-year-old from Pensacola, Fla. 'You just hope that you can keep that feel through the whole tournament and really just all the time. I think if I continue to hit my drives in the fairway and hit some quality iron shots and my putter stays nice and warm, I will be quite pleased with that.'
Bateman, winner of the 1998 Carolina Classic, is in his fifth straight season on the Buy.Com Tour. He currently stands in 51st place on the money list.
Thursday, the 28-year-old Louisianan made four consecutive birdies on Nos. 13-16 before capping his streak with his second eagle of the day at the par-5 17th.
Sheehan has missed five cuts in eight starts entering this weeks event. Thursday, he made seven birdies and no bogeys for just his third sub-70 round of the season.
Sheehan ' no relation to LPGA Hall of Famer Patty Sheehan ' started slowly on the back nine, but birdied holes 3 through 7 to climb into the top spot.
I got on a great run on my back nine, Sheehan said. It was one of those days where things are going your way. Youre making a couple of putts that you dont normally expect to make. They are just going in.
One week away from his 32nd birthday, the Rhode Island native is in his second season on tour. He first qualified in 1997, when he earned his best career finish, a runner-up at the Cleveland Open.
Full-field scores from the Buy.Com Omaha Open